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CHRIST IT UP Content On The Cover 16| Cover Story A look in the life of a man with many hats. 23| Challenge Your Potential What will you challenge this year? 24| Grace You don’t fully understand it until you need it. 26| Coffee with Sister Doris Sister Doris is here to help you start off the New Year right!

In Every Issue

*Vessel's Note *Prayer for Salvation *Coffee with Sister Doris *Bookworm *Words of the Lord *What You Know About

...The Rest 8| New Year, New You Ridding yourself of old behaviors and habits to embrace a RENEWED Lifestyle. 11| Label Me Confident A renewed sense of esteem. 15| Goodbye 2016; Hello 2017 With everything 2016 held, a fresh start with God is welcomed. Photo Courtesy of LSB Photography

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16| Ressurection of My Dry Bones Live dry bone, LIVE!

Vessel’s Note

As 2016 rolled to a close I took time to reflect on what the year had taught and/or showed me. In the course of just 12 months I have (some things are very trivial, but meant a great deal to me): • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Went to NYC (for the second year in a row, I love that place) Attended my first Mortgage Burning party. Met Thi’sl Worked out for an entire hour (LOL, Shut up Leria) Lost family Took Deisrael (my youngest daughter) to see Frozen on Ice Endured Hurricane Katrina (name I’ve dubbed my most recent storm) Did Deisrael’s first photo shoot (her dad was the photographer) My oldest child (Daiona) started High School (AHHH) then homecoming!!! Deisrael started Kindergarten Donnell (son) started middle school (what is going on with these here kids?) Shared my testimony at 2 conferences, one being my own I was on TV (in the audience, but still) for honoring a friend for being awesome (Hi Lis!!) Had several vending opportunities Continued to be hilarious Attended an Adult Birthday party that included dancing and everything (big ups to the boi LIMS) Was in my Mom’s wedding (Congratulations Mom!!) Didn’t get divorced Started the process of publishing a book (stay tuned) Got a mentor (Hey Mrs. Deb!) Tried to sell PartyLite My little sister graduated from Pittsburgh Institute for Mortuary Science (Go Smeeg!!) Was a client at a friend’s nail salon (Nails at Whit’s) Met another magazine owner who was as excited to meet me as I was to meet her Modeled (Phat Girlz Rock!!!) Did the Mannequin and Andy Challenge

My year was both up and down and I thank God for everything. Looking over some of the things I went through, I just knew they were going to take me out, but here I stand. All Glory to God!!


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OWNER & EDITOR Darnica Gordon PUBLISHER Christ It Up Publishing


My goal is to love and appreciate the people that God has already blessed me with more and to spend more quality time with each of them individually. Whether it be my husband, my children as individuals, my step children, my step grandchildren, mom, dad, sister or friends.

Staci Bose

My goal for 2017 is to remain focused on my goals. I often get off track. But I don’t want to be that way anymore.

Lauren Webb

One of my goals for 2017 is to focus on my writing more. Maybe go to some workshops or join a Writers’ group.

Abriana Mitchell

A few of my goals for 2017 are to focus on myself, read more, date me more, and be a healthier mommy and wife. I also want to get my event planning business up and running and get out of my way!

Tiffiany Huff

My biggest goal is to seek and serve God , one of my goals is to publish my book and go on a tour to promote it.

CHRIST IT UP MAGAZINE 1323 Superior Ave Pittsburgh, Pa 15212|| 412-478-8892||||

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OWNER & EDITOR Darnica Gordon PUBLISHER Christ It Up Publishing


My goal is to overcome fear this year.

Leria Felix

My goal for 2017 is to finish what I started in 2016. Finish my book, finish my weight loss process and all other things.

Lytia Brock-Sledge

Kimberly Fairley

My 2017 goal is to LIVE and LOVE! LOVE harder and pray more. I want to live the life God has promised me. I will release my inspiration line of postcards and greeting cards. A new book will be published. I would like to purchase a building for my outreach ministry Cloaked In Favor, that will help the community with childcare, a foodbank, and clothing. Find out more at www.

My goal for 2017 is to continue on this journey of learning what grace really is and having the ability to extend it to others in a manner pleasing to God and one that is able to bring restoration to my brothers and sisters both in and out of Christ.

CHRIST IT UP MAGAZINE 1323 Superior Ave Pittsburgh, Pa 15212|| 412-478-8892||||

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NEW Year , New YOU?

Ridding yourself of old behaviors and habits to embrace a RENEWED Lifestyle. By Life Coach Lytia Happy New Year! We often hear the phrase “New Year, New Me!” Is the new year really going to be introduced to a new you or an old you that you have added a few new ideas to? A new year will mean nothing with old behaviors, old habits, and an old mindset. You cannot afford to attack this year like the years past. You must meet this year with new life, and bigger expectations.

the challenge. By doing a few steps you can cleanse and clearly look within to get to the root of your problems.

One way to ensure you meet the new year and new you right, One thing that is popular before the new year arrives is to set you must sit down and figure out the negative forces that are a resolution. It may be losing that same 30 lbs. or cleaning out working against you, even if it is you. the overly packed garage. There are some behaviors that are not totally your fault or doing, they may be generational. There are other habits that you developed along the way that may not be that bad but can be corrected. Changing your behavior will help to change your thinking and in time, your life. Positive thinking will yield positive results. It is time to welcome yourself to new ideas and new ways of thinking. In my book Making The Most Of Life’s Lemons I discuss taking self-inventory and mediation. Living with harmful behaviors or thoughts will not allow something new to take place. Doing things the way you have always done them can leave you feeling empty, fatigue, and uninspired. What are your current interests and are they in line with the new you?

Have you made a resolution or set a short-term goal? If you have, how will you make sure to accomplish that goal? Below are a few steps to help you get the ball rolling. Steps to a New YOU To know how to change you must know what to change:  After identifying the necessary changes meditate and journal to find solutions  Once your solutions are identified apply them  Seek help of a professional life coach or spiritual advisor

If you were not able to answer that question with a yes it may be time to find new interests.

 Find an accountability partner in addition to your life coach/ spiritual advisor that will do weekly check-ins to monitor your progress

You may think it is a bit overwhelming and it very well can be, but if you are committed to a better you, a new you is worth

 LIVE and remember applying these steps and taking things one day at a time will ensure a NEW YOU!

The life that you dream of is well within your reach. If you are committed to doing the work the new you is right in your view. HAPPY NEW YEAR, NEW looks good on YOU!

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No Resolution By: Tiffany T. Huff

It's been several years since I set a New Year's resolution. What I know now is that it was not my choice to stop making resolutions. I remember facing the idea with a sense of resistance, feeling a bit tense about not professing the challenge(s) I was going to set out to conquer at the start of each new year.

continuum for maintaining the weight loss I had worked so hard to achieve throughout the year because I was so focused on the achievement itself. With annual themes however, I recognize there is a natural flow, there is a continuum.

The momentum of last year’s theme was built from the The truth is, as my life began to shift and take on a more momentum of the previous year, etc. spiritually led, vision centered focus, my need to aim toward specific goals at the start of each year shifted as well, and then Themes are guiding principles for building your legacy, and are finally became completely unnecessary. Here's why: applicable in all areas of your life, as opposed to resolutions being limited to say your physical health, or getting promoted Resolutions were a reflection of my need for control. on your job. When I was setting my resolutions I would come up with my plan of execution and then pray for God to bless my plans. While this appeared to work well for me for many years, it slowly became apparent that my plans and God's plan were not properly aligned. Can you relate?

3. Resolutions lacked emotion. Since resolutions are so heavily focused on "arriving" or "doing" there was little consideration given to how I would feel along the way, or the emotions associated with the arrival at the destination. Deciding to spend day after day moving closer and closer to a destination while miserable, or feeling negatively for the sake of achieving it became redundant, ineffective and felt like a self-imposed prison.

The more I grow both spiritually and personally, the better I am able to understand how the shifts that have been happening in my life are for the best, and why allowing God to A clear sign that your theme is right for you is being able to take the lead is necessary. apply it to your life holistically. Regardless of what area of your life you are reflecting upon, examining, or working to improve During times of reflection and prayer, I recognized while I had your theme should guide those activities. If you cannot set well-meaning resolutions, and I was working diligently to align your theme with your intentions spiritually, mentally, achieve them, I was consistently missing my mark. emotionally, professionally, financially, socially then you may want to be spend a bit more time in prayer and meditation. I had to be willing to go to God and constantly pray for guidance, I had to surrender and allow my desires and plans to Be patient with yourself and the process. become His, I had to begin living a more spirit led life. Here are some steps to take if you're not sure where God is My process for selecting my annual theme is the exact leading you: opposite of the one I used to use to set and plan my strategies for achieving New Year's Resolutions. I now know I need to 1. Pray with only the expectation to hear from God - not pray and meditate first, then be open to allow my spirit to be to confirm your own intention. led in the direction God sees fit. 2. Be intentional about spending quiet time alone with God and reflecting about lessons and blessings this year 2. Resolutions were finite. 3. Write through your thoughts and feelings. Journaling has a way of bringing clarity. More than once in the past I have made the resolution to lose 50 pounds, and more than once I have in fact lost 50 pounds. And if you feel led to continue making resolutions I challenge Just to be clear, this resolution had to be made more than you to BE a resolution. Fill the void, the need, stand in the gap once because I gained the weight back. The issue with this for someone in need or with a problem! resolution was that there was no plan or indication for what I should do once the resolution was fulfilled. There was no Happy New Year!

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Label Me

CONFIDENT By: Darnica Gordon

Weight-loss has been something I have been trying to do for a long while. In a society where you need to be a size zero I’m here to tell you that you don’t. Lavel Me Confident. Imagine being a parent at 17 and gaining a considerable amount of weight from then until the age of 32. Over the last 15 years I’ve gained 90 pounds! (SHEESH) It sounds harsh on paper and looks even worse on the scale. I have been ineffectively trying to lose weight since about 19. I have had two other children in between those times so my body has changed tremendously. (I did mange to lose 15 lbs. when I was 22.) For a long while I had suffered from low self-esteem. I didn’t like shopping because I could never find anything my style or that fit. No one could tell I had low self-esteem because I always remained chipper and tried to make the best of what I had. As each year went by I gained more and more weight. I couldn’t take it anymore. First I had to break free of the, “fat equals ugly” mentality. Even though I saw a curvy woman every day working it and looking beautiful I just didn’t think I was one of them. So I started to do things that made me feel pretty, like getting my nails and hair done, throwing on a shade of lipstick, or rocking my favorite watch ( I love me a fly watch). And before I knew it my confidence was back. My weight loss journey is not over yet. I continue to struggle with weight loss but not low-self esteem. I plan to keep working toward it because it’s something that I truly desire. If you are a woman struggling with weight loss issues don’t be discouraged, do things that make you feel pretty in the process of you losing weight. I know it’s hard, believe me. I've been at this for 15 years and have only successfully lost weight once. I don't want to be gluttonous. I truly do want to honor God with my body by making sure I take care of it. In the next year I plan to be more

active and continue trying to eat healthy and drink plenty of water. I have friends who I've started making changes with and they have made tremendous progress. I am so proud of them and know that this weight loss thing is possible just by watching them. I've let my weight hold me back from a lot of things, like dancing. But it has also introduced me to some great (I modeled for a short while!!!!)! I love seeing thicker women with confidence and flare and style. Stay encourage curvy women, thick women, full figured women, whatever you consider yourself. Label yourself confident as you journey to weight loss or as you continue being fabulous!! (2 snaps!!)

Have a “Label Me Confident” story? We would love to hear it! Send submissions to

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Photo Courtesy LSB Photography 12|CIU New Year ofIssue

“Let’s Make Godliness Great Again!” Interviewed By: Darnica Gordon I’ve know this man since I was about 16. He’s actually my cousin through marriage. If I can be completely honest, I did not care for him much then but we have a completely different relationship now. If you guys know the story behind this magazine you will know that I got the name from a song my husband , Church B., did with his cousin. This is that cousin. God used that song as a way to introduce this magazine to me. And in the beginning I tried to pawn the magazine off on him and my husband. They thought I was crazy, but look at us now. This interview is well overdue. With his upcoming album “SINhasEXOwneDUS” being released January 26 it was only right that I introduce you to the man with many hats; Mr. James “J.R. Miah” Hudson. Christ It Up: Everyone has their coming to Christ story, what is an attempt to force her to stay, my dad, with me in arms, drug yours? my mother little body up the Manchester Bridge, held me over the train tracks, threaten to drop me if she left. So to spare J.R. Miah: Can I start by saying, you can’t pimp God! 12 yrs. my life, she surrender hers and unwillingly stayed. And so the ago my trip to the alter may have been more about saving abused continued! Realizing the abuse was putting my very my first marriage, then about saving my soul. Newsflash, not life in danger, she left me in the care of my grandmother and the best way to approach a relationship with God. Common, headed south to find a better life for both of us. And that she but not the best way. Tryna pimp God may leave YOU naked, did! If my step-father never did anything, he never once hit my alone, on the corner of Hell selling yourself to sin for mere mother. A terrified kid’s bed prayer answered. pennies. Salvation isn’t only a confession with your mouth, but a totally surrender of your heart. My heart wasn’t in it CIU: Before you were saved you did secular music. You had a to win it, so I ended up losing everything. Wife, kids, job, car, label and a group. How did you transition away from that? family, friends, you name it. You think it that would make JR: For me? Good! For the group? Depends who you ask. you lose one’s mind? Well, I almost did that too! Actually my Lol! Our last group meeting went like this. Me, “God said, depression landed me in Psych Ward for 4 days. Sometimes unless we do music for him, it won’t work!” And so went my coming to the end of your road will land you at Gods precise likeability and the group. Lol! What’s funny is, I remember location. Amazing my second night there, my elder white roommate who interestingly was a regular visitor, handed me telling God right before losing everything, take the wife, kids, job, car, and friends, just don’t take my music. Scratching and a little red New Testament bible. Out of pure desperation I screaming I lost that also. But amazing, when became okay came across something that said, “James, seek me! But this without it, God gave it back. Hence forth, J.R. Miah The Holy time, not in vain and I’ll show up!” Instantly, I hit the floor surrendered my heart, and uttered one word: YES! Previously, Messenger! with a selfish heart, repeated thirty words of salvation to no CIU: In 2010 you released your first Christian album, “From avail. But from a dying, desperate, submissive heart, cried a Here to Canaan” (this was your first Christian album right?) single word that changed everything. Amazing Grace! and you are currently working on a new project. What are CIU: I’ve recently just learned of your upbringing would you mind sharing a little bit of it with our readers?

some of the differences you notice in your music and in yourself?

JR: I would say one of the most memorable but troubling moments of my childhood was the witnessing of my mother’s abuse by my father (God rest his soul) and her boyfriend. To protect me, she would literally lock herself in the room with her abusers. But the sounds of her 90lb body crashing off the walls and screams for mercy would terrify me as I lay in the bed praying they wouldn’t kill her. Yet, faithful every morning she would get me up, battered, bruised, with swollen and blackened eyes, take me to school. My teachers would see past the makeup and sunshades and repeated ask, “are you sure everything’s ok Ms. Hudson. “I’ll be okay shed say every time until the next time. As if it couldn’t get any worse when my mom decided to leave the abuse things got even crazier. In

JR: My first Christian album was mere introduction. Like, “Hi! My name is James. I’m an alcoholic (sinner saved by grace). My wife Kellie and I were married about two years when that album dropped. But like the title, it would be the calm before the storm. It would be a few years after the album debut that my wife and I would end up separated for a whole year. Out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and straight into the deep dark woods. Afraid I was headed down the same path as my first marriage, I wanted to feel defeated. But God (BUT GOD praise break), said Nope! He would constantly remind me that I was a man of God, saved by God, in relationship with God. Set aside for greater works. That through Christ you’ve been set free and no longer a slave to sin or past. The reason for new

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album SINhasEXOwneDUS (Sin has ex-owned us) title. 95 percent of the album was written during that year. CIU: And on top of music, you are a Pastor! How does one feel who receives this calling? (How do you feel?) JR: God has a way of getting around Caller ID”s. Lol! I can say that would I love about this calling is the reading, hearing, revelation, and sharing of God’s word. Learning to love myself and others in spite of ourselves. How God defines love not only by word, but action. Now the problem, if any, it would be by the same reading, hearing, and revelation of God’s word, Like Paul, I realize I am the worst of sinners. Simply said, I have to eat and stomach whatever I preach. I think my stomach becoming a little tender! I might need the Word pureed sometimes! Lol! CIU: I believe it was towards the beginning of 2016 when you were building your church; how is that coming along? JR: Starting a church is as tough as id thought I’d be. Anyone can build and occupy a structure. But only God can build a church and fill it with His presence. When my wife and I sought God for a starting point, His answer, us. Oooooookay! That may take a minute! But since then I’ve come to the revelation that like any job (not saying this is just any job), the initial call is just the beginning. Certain things may have to take place prior to the actual work. Acceptance, interviews, orientation, etc. yeah, were somewhere in that part of the process. I’m still humbled at the fact that He’s even called. His sovereignty says I’m qualified. I guess?! Don’t really ever remembering applying though? He’s God! Nuff said! CIU: With all that you have going on you are also MARRIED and raising 5 children. Plus you work full time and you’re in a band.... HOW do you balance it all? JR: Actually, I have a total of seven kids and two step children. Don’t judge me! Balance? We tend to assume great balancing requires a proper arrangement and management of whatever you can put on your plate. Sometimes it’s simply realizing some things shouldn’t be on our plates. Everyone wants to look busy and productive. Meanwhile mishandling, dropping, and destroying everything we desire to have or hold close to us. Healthy living in requires a balanced diet. CIU: Being in an interracial relationship, you being a black man and your wife being a Caucasian woman, what are some of the challenges you guys face?

Photo Courtesy of LSB Photography

JR: The biggest challenge is attempting to understand those challenged by interracial relationships. Can we first dispel some myths from a black man’s point of view? One, Racism is ungodly. Numbers 12:1! Two, All black men prefer white women because they’re more submissive than black women. Whoever got that memo, please pass it along to my wife! Lol! Plus I thought a submissive wives were marital vowels and biblical? But anyway! Thirdly, Black men who date white women, tend to date only white women. Not to pull my resume, but I’ve dated Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, and even Native American. I like who I like because I like them. Discrimination has never been my issue. But back to my wife and I. We get dirty looks from both sides. We’ve even been told by a wellrespected pastor that our interracial marriage may be our biggest hurdle to building or leading our own church. We refuse to let that be our issue. I pray no one who opposes gets leprosy! Lol! continue on page 25

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Goodbye 2016; Hello 2017! By: Kellie Hudson

I’m not going to lie, 2016 was spiritually a rough year for me. I had to let go of a lot of toxic people, situations, and places that I thought in the beginning were something good, which left me confused and heart broken. Innocent black men and police were being killed, which seemed to become a war created by hate and fear. Everyone had an opinion on who deserved to die more or whose life held more value. Don’t we all hold the same amount of value in God’s eyes? Despite race, education etc. And this election... this election really had me feeling some type of way... I could go on but I’m not. I guess you could say I had more of a problem with some of God’s people then with him. Which then cause me to focus more on their words then God WORD. I’m spirituality heart broken by the division of the word and how I see some followers of Christ being and accepting such hateful words and action For the past few months I’ve been waking up and in my prayers asking, “God why do people act like this or speak so wrongly of how they should act as a follower of you”. For a while I wasn’t getting anything back from him. It left me more confused and broken hearted with the world. I had started to look for my answers more in the world then in prayer and the word. Turning on the

news more then I was opening my bible to find answers left me angry, confused, scared, and sad at where the world was and is going, not just for myself but also for my children. Until one day while whining about the state of the world and the future, God said, “Haven’t I always taking care of you and your children”? Are you focusing more on my word or the news and Facebook?” I have been in so much fear that I failed to keep God my number one. One thing we must always keep in mind is that God is always good and His Word will never leave us feeling sad, fearful, depressed or hateful. All those types of feeling and actions come from the devil or our own self will and never God. So, what I have gotten out of this is that even when the world seems evil God is still good and those who put their faith and trust into Him will remain peaceful and loved despite where the rest of the world or other Christians may be going. Always know God’s Word for yourself. It could be the line between good and evil. With all that being said I am ready to say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017 with knowing that God is on my side no matter what the rest of the world looks like. I know without a doubt He will take care of me and my family if I only trust Him to do it as he has done before in the past. His word holds the truth to everything I am looking for.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever- Psalm 136:1 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; - Proverbs 3:5 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand- Isaiah 41:10

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The Ressurection of My Dry Bones By: Abriana Mitchell

2017 is just looming over me. I feel like I have this massive and incredibly important Final Exam coming up that will determine EVERYTHING for the upcoming year….and I have already failed.

I am not one to create any kind of New Year list of resolutions that will guide the next month, and ultimately set me up for epic failure because--I won’t do anything I place on that list. I have no dieting goals or healthy new habit goals; no desire to try out yoga or a new form of exercise (although I did take this Zumba disc set from my mother I have really wanted to try out). I just want 2017 to be better than 2016, 2015 and even 2014 were. In order to do this, a friend of mine told me to GET REAL. Not “get real” like this is unreachable; but--get real with myself. Why have these years been full of dread and unmet expectations? Why are my hidden goals still buried under excuses and dust? In order for 2017 to LIVE, I have to pull my truths up from the grave. I am the sole reason I have not done anything I set out to do this past year and those that came before it. ME. I am a basket full of excuses, self-pity, fear, pride and anger. I am restless. I can feel in my spirit this constant push to move ahead, move forward, just get it done. And I remain just so still. What if I fail? What will people think when I step out and try this new thing? Everyone else is doing what I want to do, there will be no room for my dreams… Thinking ahead to 2017, I decided to just move ahead in faith. I want to own my own business--coffee shop to be exact. I want to sing and breathe life into all this praise and worship God has given that I have burrowed down deep under too much fear and anxiety. I want to take up all the space I can with positivity, light and purpose. I want to be the woman God has called me to be...Right. Now. I’m not waiting for January 1, 2017 to roll in to put together my master plan. I am moving even now to get things moving. I know who I’m supposed to be. I also know that I am the best self-blocker on the planet. I get in my own way, erecting walls to keep me hidden and in place--then get upset and jealous at those moving in their calls. I want to travel, teach my children new things--show them new things. I want to be a healthy and whole mother for them, whose joy stems from living on purpose. I want my old dry bones to finally begin to LIVE, MOVE and BREATHE! I claim 2017 as THE year of purpose and joy. There is no room for depression, anxiety, anger or even unused failure.

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I will move even when I cannot see steps in front of me. I will move even though I just picked myself up off the floor after I tripped (Ha!). I call out myself, breathing life back into myself. God created me for bigger and better things. We don’t have to live like we aren’t royalty--we are. We have the right to be amazing! If I was one to create a New Year’s Resolution, it would be simple: Live dry bones, LIVE.

Words of the Lord

By: Darnica Gordon

John 14:6 (NLT) Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

I remember when I was about 23 years old and my now mother-in-law was trying to convince me and her son who was my babies’ dad at the time, to come to church; give our lives to Christ. I rememeber thinking of all the things I would have to give up, my music, clubbing, etc. Even though clubbing wasn’t a big thing for me, to not be able to do it at all anymore didn’t sit well with me. But my music!! Not being able to listen to Lil’ Wayne ever again, now that was something I was not trying to give up. I told myself that when I got older I would get saved and give my life to Christ. My older was 24. I never thought that a life for Christ would be so fulfilling. If you’re battling in your walk or contemplating giving your life to Christ I encourage you to take that leap. Giving your life to Christ is the best decision you could make. To me Jesus is straightforward in the above scripture. Unless you have a relationship with him, you cannot get to the Father. Jesus is the middle man, we need him to get to God. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

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Challenge Your Potential! By: Lauren Webb I like new things. But boy does my daughter love new things. On a recent trip to Target I stopped by the Children’s Section to pick up a few new outfits for her. My intentions were to just get one or two. Well we left with new outfits, new shoes, new socks, and even new underwear. She was so excited she managed to get me to actually put on her new ruffle socks, shoes, and a shirt before we left the store. It was like she literality walked into Target one way and I left with a completely different child. It is a new year- and the way a four year old craves the excitement of a new pair of shoes and ruffle socks, I crave the potential to change and fill in the gaps of my expectations. And something about the date January 1 makes us all think we have it; Potential to change.

knock everything off but just dreaming about it makes my blood boil and sparks other ideas. The capacity of God’s performance is beyond what I could imagine. The closing of 2016 has been intense with the craziness of politics, violence, and seeing generations at their most difficult state. If you’re here, you survived it. If we aren’t intentional what ends up happening, rather than living, we survive. So stop everything, grab a friend or family member and dream, plan, and step out of the accidental boxes. It’s a year of DO.

But here’s what I love, what blows my mind if I think too hard We have a new promise and a new year full of potential. about it…..our God doesn’t give us potential to change, if He is What will you do with it? If you take action on something the capacity for God to move is beyond what you could ever see, in us… think, or speak. He promises change. We get to dream. We get to build. We get to hope. We get to FOR I AM CONFIDENT OF THIS VERY THING, THAT HE WHO change. We get to impact. We get to respond. We get God on BEGAN A GOOD WORK IN YOU WILL PERFECT IT UNTIL THE our side. DAY OF CHRIST JESUS. PHILIPPIANS 1:6 WHAT CHANGES ARE YOU HOPING TO SEE IN YOUR LIFE AND If I am not changing I would have to be interfering- stopping IN THE COMMUNITY AROUND YOU THIS YEAR? HOW WILL the change. The prayer is not- “Change me God.” The prayer YOU FILL IN THE GAPS OF POTIENTAL? is, “God please help me stay out of Your way this year.” So as we reflect on the past year, all the things we’ve accomplished, and the things we were so close to completing. All I could think is capacity. And as we sit and write our goals for the next year (because yes! we all do it even though we hate to admit it) I think of the challenge it takes to fill in the gap from the goal to the achievement. The big question this Year is…. WILL YOU DO IT? It is one thing to dream and another to act, Faith without works is dead! So you want to lose 10 pounds this year. Great! But will you challenge yourself to actually workout? This is my favorite thing! I get excited to sit down and write out my goals and dreams for the year. I have no idea if I will

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Coffee with Sister Doris

Dear Sister Doris I am a 23 year old sometimes Christian, single mother. Every year, on my Facebook page, I write “New Year, New Me.” I really mean it too. I always think that this is the year I get my body in shape, stop drinking, go to church every Sunday, do more for my kids, go to school, stop having sex with men that don’t love me, and any other thing that needs to be changed. But once the year gets started I find myself drinking, smoking weed, having sex, not doing anything to better my kids, and going to church once or twice per month. How can I go into this year saying New Year, New Me and not only mean it but do something to make sure that I change? Signed, New year, Old me Dear New, I am so glad that you stopped by for coffee this morning. Would you like cream and sugar in your coffee … Two creams and two sugar packs … great let me grab my cup and then we can chat. I am not sure where to begin, there is so much going on here. I was going to give you a list of things that you can do to be a New You in the New Year, but a few things that you said concern me.  I do want to address this comment “… stop having sex with men that don’t love me” As a single, Christian, you know that you should not be having sex with anyone. The Bible is very clear with fornication. Your body belongs to the Lord. Think about that for a while. Your body belongs to the Lord. He loves you. He cares about you. The only time that God wants you to have sex is if you are married, and you are having sex with your husband. A lot of times young Christians will say to me “How can my mother tell me not to have sex before marriage, she had sex before marriage.” But the truth is your mother is not telling you not to have sex before marriage. God is saying in His loving voice, “Do not have sex before marriage.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

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 And this comment “…sometimes Christian… “ You are going to have to decide what you want to do with this Christianity that you sometimes do. You can’t have a sometimes relationship with Christ. I am not talking about your church schedule. I am talking about your relationship. Being a Christian is everyday loving on Jesus, talking to him, giving worship and praises to God, reading your Bible. We go to church to learn, grow, and help build the kingdom of God, but our daily relationship is very important. And if you are not serving Jesus, the Bible makes it clear that you are serving the devil or another false god. The only way to have an abundant life and get into heaven is through Jesus. Joshua 24:15 ESV “…choose this day whom you will serve…” John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 And finally, your question “How can I go into this year saying New Year, New Me and not only mean it but do something to make sure that I change?” When you get saved (or become a Christian) you are new. The Holy Spirit lives with you and helps you daily. The only reason we go back to old things is because we are remembering the fake happiness it brought us. We have to do what our spirit wants to do. Remember earlier we talked about our spirit belonging to God. Our spirit wants to please God. I would suggest that you go on a fast. Pray and ask God what type of fast you should go on and how long. For instance, when I gave my life to the Lord, I fasted a week for 12 hours. So I didn’t eat any food from 12 am to 12 pm. I know it sounds odd but I was trying to learn how to fast. Then I started fasting one day a week from 6 am to 6 pm- no food only water. I would wake up, pray, read a scripture, and then think on that scripture all day. I would pray during the day as well. I only listened to Christian music and before I knew it, I was the new person that I was longing to be. I will never be perfect but my relationship with Christ is stronger. Getting closer to Christ has to be the goal. We meet that goal through prayer, fasting, reading our Bible, attending church services, asking the Holy Spirit to lead us daily, and living a life where the Holy Spirit won’t be grieved. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! Romans 12:2 NLT Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

I hope that our chat helped. Until next time, Sister Doris will be praying for you.

Got a question for Sister Doris? Email us at

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Book Worm Books for 2017 By: Darnica Gordon

As you may know, I love to read. For the past 4 years I have recommended a variety of books (that I hope you guys may have read) that I have enjoyed, in hopes that you may enjoy them as well. Here is a short list of books I plan to read in 2017.

Christmas Angels by Tia McCollors Have Faith In Me by Tiana Destiny Singing Salvation In E-Flat Minor by Lashanda Michelle No Faith In Love by T.L. Walker Though I Stumble by Kim Cash Tate The Winter Reunion by Rhonda McKnight A Sinful Calling by Kimberla Lawson Roby And this is just to name a few. You may see some of these in upcoming issues of CIU if I really enjoyed them. I’m usually pretty good at picking a good read.

Do you have a book that you would like to share with the Christ It Up Community? Do you have a client whose book needs exposure? Send them to

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By: Kimberly Fairley

Too often we don’t understand the depth of many parts of the life modeled by Christ until we go through things that force us to see beyond the basic understanding we have without the desire to go deeper. For me, I came to a much better understanding of what grace is when I came across what I call my “Encounter with Grace”. I remember my understanding and all that I knew about grace was turned upside down when I watched a sermon by Matt Chandler. He made the following statement, “One of the sure signs that you don’t understand grace outside of the intellectual accent is the inability to show grace to others. What the Gospel does is removes our ability to judge harshly to others. Instead it creates empathy and compassion. It creates a holy kind of sorrow for the carnage that sin creates”. I used to be that person that came down on others hard who made bad decisions. It was all “in the name of Jesus”. I just knew I was being “pleasing to God” and in reality, I was destroying those I loved and cared about. I was that first responder who caused more damage than the relief I could’ve given if I had simply allowed love to cover them in spite of their mess up. I had to figure this out the hard way when I found myself not only responded to in a harsh manner when I found myself falling short of the glory of God. My word for the year is GRACE. While it is natural for us to want one another to do and be better as God has called us to, we MUST be mindful with the way we respond to one another. We must realize that when a brother or sister falls, they didn’t sit around planning the day they would dishonor God. The day they wanted to be driven a little farther from Jesus as a result of a struggle that was waiting to take them out. We all need love and if we are able to dig a little deeper into God and who He is, then we will be able to not just read about, but embrace and truly be able to shower others with the grace that we will all need at some point in our walk.

Coming January 2017

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continued from page 14

JR: With a New Year and new President, my goal is share this message, making things great begins with godliness. Period! Somewhere we’ve replaced truth with opinions and feelings. Anyone (pastor included) sharing a word or revelation from God is one thing. But, a matter of opinion is something else. You, want a better marriage, family, life, community, America, World? First, Let’s make godliness great again! CIU: What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far in your walk with Christ? JR: My Christian walk has shown me stark difference between caring and compassion. Caring is an expression of how I feel. Compassion is my response to the concerns of how you may be feeling. Caring doesn’t require a response on the behalf of another. But compassion does. For God so love the world. For God so love the world, “HE GAVE HIS ONLY” begotten Son. He gave is best just to receive our less. Came from on high, became a man, to save men who couldn’t save themselves. He made it all about us. That’s beyond caring, that’s straight compassion. And that’s G.U.T.T.A. (Gods Undeniable Truth Told Always)! CIU: How can CIU readers keep up with you? JR: Facebook: J.R. MIAH Facebook: GUTTA Enterprises Facebook: Christ Church of Hope IG: @jrmiah316

Give your life to Christ

CIU: Since this is our New Year Issue, what is your ultimate goal for 2017?

If you have read past issues of this magazine or if this is your first time, I am glad to introduce, The Sinner’s Prayer. Romans 10:9-11 (NIV) 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” To give your life to Christ, recite this aloud: Dear God, I come to you today as a sinner asking for forgivness. I believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that you are Lord. I believe that you died on the cross and rose on the third day with all power in your hand. And today I accept you as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus name, Amen!

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Profile for Christ It Up Magazine

Christ It Up Magazine New Year 2017 Issue  

CIU kicks off 2017 chatting it up with J.R. Miah about his childhood, being a pastor, and his goals for 2017.

Christ It Up Magazine New Year 2017 Issue  

CIU kicks off 2017 chatting it up with J.R. Miah about his childhood, being a pastor, and his goals for 2017.